by Carolyn Kaberline
GREELEY — If one picture is worth a thousand words, then the quilt created by members of St. John the Baptist Parish here is worth volumes. The quilt, which contains 121 squares and tells of the parish’s families, will be raffled at its annual bazaar on Sept. 28.
“Every year, the Altar Society raffles off a quilt,” explained Joyce Burris, who was in charge of the project. “I approached them with the idea last November. I do a lot of family quilting, so the idea just popped into mind.”
Once she received the OK, Burris, who has made the quilts for the raffle the past several years, gave each family an envelope with a 10-inch by 11-inch square and directions last December with a due date of April 1.
Of the 131 squares handed out, 116 were returned; to those were added five others — one of the parish’s namesake, St. John the Baptist; one of Archbishop Naumann’s crest; one from pastor Father Matthew Schiffelbein; one of the church itself; and one with the date.
Once the squares were returned, Burris pieced them together in the order they were received. Then her cousin, Rose Harring from Stockton, Missouri, picked them up to quilt on her quilting machine.
Many of the squares showcase livestock owned by parishioners — as well as tractors and other farm implements. Several squares focus on favorite sports — basketball, golf, fishing, softball and more. Others display businesses owned by parishioners as well as hobbies and activities.
Some — like the square submitted by Leroy and Brenda Kratzberg — represent special events in their lives: their wedding bands along with their wedding date are displayed.
Jean Dalsing’s square depicts a pink rose. Not only did she have a pink rose in her wedding bouquet, but her husband often gave her a pink rose on special occasions. The last, which she still has after 10 years, was received on the Valentine’s Day before he died.
One submitted by Bert Schaffer shows a walker plow which farmers used for years to plant potatoes. She now has one — used as a yard ornament — with a cross hanging from it.
Eldon and Theresa Riley’s square looks like an old-fashioned kitchen window with white-fringed red-and-white-checked curtains. A basket of fruit and an old-fashioned kitchen scale can be found on the counter in front of the window.
The square submitted by choir director Donna Morgan and her husband Ed depicts a piano keyboard and a mustang, since he likes the car by that name, while Steve and Margaret Lickteig’s square shows Mary holding the Christ Child, a scene was traced from a Christmas card.
Patsy Dykes used pieces of tatting made by her Grandmother Gellhaus more than 50 years ago on her square, and Martin Rockers, who has a large vegetable garden, pictured himself as Mr. Carrot looking at his late wife Mary as Miss Tomato on his.
While most created their own squares, some like Father Schiffelbein had others make theirs.
“I can’t even sew buttons onto a shirt, so I didn’t do my own embroidery,” said Father Schiffelbein. “I suggested [a chalice] to Joyce Burris and her daughter Michelle. Since I have a Master of Music in saxophone performance, they came up with a design including both a chalice and a saxophone. It turned out really well.”
Not only will the quilt raffle generate some money for the church, but Father Schiffelbein also believes the quilt brought the parish closer together.
“I know others, like me, do not have skills in embroidery, so they collaborated with someone else to design and complete their square,” he said. “It also seemed to remind everyone that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
The quilt, which measures approximately nine feet by nine-and-a-half feet, will be raffled at the annual bazaar on Sept. 28. Raffle tickets can be purchased for a dollar each from any St. John’s parishioner or ordered by mail from Joyce Burris at P.O. Box 82, Greeley, KS 66033. Those purchasing tickets are asked to make checks payable to St. John’s Altar Society and give their names and phone numbers; one does not need to be present to win.